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16 February 2016

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jld

Interesting technical details on how the psychosis has been operating in Pakistan:
http://arstechnica.co.uk/security/2016/02/the-nsas-skynet-program-may-be-killing-thousands-of-innocent-people/

rjj

"... does there exist an element in the national mindset that makes American society peculiarly susceptible to this phenomenon? "

Contributing to the mindset: a 20% GNP somatic security sector (MedPharmaCorps and satellites) whose embedded "Memento Mori" saturation marketing pings primal fears, promotes mass hypochondria, and sustains demand for salvation/delivery/rescue from above???

thought I fired this off. if so, apology for double post.

John

Could this have anything to do with it?
http://www.wsj.com/articles/were-working-more-hoursand-watching-more-tv-1435187603
Debt serf economy for the proles who are exhausted by stress,long hours and constantly distracted by the flickering screen.
Constant flight/fight reflexes activated.
If it bleeds, it leads.
Fear rules.
The Borg Matrix uber alles.
This is a warning.
You will submit.

William R. Cumming

Thanks for this very interesting post. IMO, however, you understate the case! I would argue the Presidential race the best example of American psychosis.

SmoothieX12

A few candidates do come to mind. The country’s historical invulnerability to attack is one of them. After all, with the historic exception of Pearl Harbor, the United States has not experienced a violent assault on its territory since 1813. Moreover, it has not faced a concrete threat during that period other than the abstract danger of nuclear strikes from the Soviet Union. We should note that the Red menace which the atomic bomb embodies did generate the hysteria of the early Cold War years. But that effect, and conscious fear of the Bomb itself, gradually wore off by the end of the 1960s.
--------------------------------------------------

Generally, this is from the lack of conditioning, however horrible in itself, by the continental warfare. This is not going to get any "better", if such menacing metric could be applied here at all, since no one really plans to attack the US, bar some terrorist groups, with the full might of their armed forces. Not to mention that it is impossible. But all these observations lead to a very dangerous, for some, "revision" of the whole post-WW II American narrative. It is, in fact, already in progress. Some, or maybe even many, will not be able to take it. But hopefully it will lead to major reassessment which is sorely needed not only for the world but for good ol' US itself.

Trey N

People who are under the delusion that they can fly, and who then jump into the Grand Canyon or off the top of the Sears Tower with no means of controlled descent, will indeed experience fantastic delight in that ability -- for all of about two minutes.

All too soon, however, said persons will be forced out of their pleasurable fantasy by confronting the real world with its immutable laws of physics. The catastrophic results to said jumpers will not be pleasant...to say the least.

Eventually the harsh facts of reality in this world will impose themselves on all mortal creatures. Americans, particularly of the so-called Baby Boom generation, seem to believe themselves immune from said universal laws in many more respects than just the GWOT, however:

* Want big houses, fancy cars, a lifestyle way beyond your means to afford? No problem -- just "pay" for it with credit cards and bank loans. And pretend that the mountains of debt and crushing interest charges will never be a problem....

* Want to overindulge in the pleasures of the flesh -- excessive eating, drinking, sex, whatever -- without paying any physical costs to your body? No problem! Just pop a few (or many) Rx pills, and continue to vegetate on your couch while staring for endless hours at "reality" TV shows. Don't ever exercise or even think for a second about the excessive weight or almost inevitable severe diabetes that will result from such lifestyle choices....

* For the "Millenials," at the very beginning of your adult life contract enormous amounts of ruinous debt for worthless scraps of paper that proclaim you to be an expert basket weaver (or an expert on Shakespearean literature, of any of a myriad other interesting but totally useless skills in the real economy). Attempt to avoid reality by never marrying and by living forever in the basement of that huge McMansion that your Boomer parents are still paying the huge McMortgage on....

* For all Americans, continue to lap up the MSM propaganda and the BS from politicians of all stripes that proclaim you to be citizens of the "greatest country on earth!" as well as the "greatest nation in the history of the world!" Mindlessly bleat "USA!!! USA!!!" at all international events of any sort. Ignore the rotting infrastructure that surrounds you wherever you turn, as well as your collapsing standard of living. As long as the TV works and football is still being played, all is well with the world....

With very little effort, this list could be expanded almost exponentially. Americans of all walks of life are living in an alternate reality -- or at least they are making a valiant and determined effort to do so.

My brother's favorite saying, one that he drilled into his kids while they were growing up, is: "You can choose your actions -- but you cannot choose the results of those actions."

Every choice a human being makes has consequences. Whether the person is sane or not, whether the choice is rational or irrational, that choice will have consequences -- and those consequences cannot be altered or wished away by science, alchemy, or just plain old hoping for a miracle.

The Borg is just beginning now to experience their come-to-Jesus meeting with reality in this world. And no, Karl, as pompous and arrogant and full of hubris as you and your neocon Borg buddies are, you cannot "create [y]our own reality"....

ex-PFC Chuck

I agree with your diagnosis. However I do not believe that it is an unintended consequence of other actions, our country's responses to the 9/11 incident for example. I believe it was deliberately induced by Information Operations that were conducted at the behest of the Deep State (aka The Borg, as Col. Lang refers to it) that were begun in as a part of the responses to 9/11, and continue to this day. See Naomi Klein's &&The Shock Doctrine&& for an explanation of how the process works.
http://amzn.to/1mFRC7V

tgs

Another excellent piece. Thanks.

turcopolier

ex PFC Chuck

I don't call it the "Deep State" because there are so many elements in this network of networks that are connected to government only by sympathy and a fear of lost approval. pl

Croesus

There's a curious disconnect between the Baby Boom generation, their parents, the so-called greatest generation, and US leadership that emerged from the greatest generation.

From what I hear from my age-peers, their parents, like my Father, spoke not a word about their experiences in WWII. No great displays of personal puffery, not even the most basic information. In cleaning out my parents' home I came upon my Dad's duffel bag where he'd listed the ports where his battle group stopped in N Africa and Italy. We never knew.

But so very many of US politicians cite WWII as the beginning moment of US dominance and the current bout of exceptionalism. They've got WWII fever; 70 years after the fact, they're reliving old heroics that might have taken place only in their imagination. According to one of his biographers, George H W Bush went to war against Iraq in 1991 to "redeem the promise to those who fought in WWII, to create a new world order."

That's one of the reasons I argue that Americans -- baby boomers and on down the line -- need to get a better understanding of what the USA did and did not do in WWII. It was not a black-and-white, absolutely noble endeavor.

This morning the head of the Republican policy committee, Luke Messer (R-Indiana) spoke at the National Press Club. Among other things, he said: “We are locked in a war of good against evil against Islamic extremists who want to destroy our way of life … we need a strong military to defeat them …”

That's rhetoric right out of the pre-WWII propaganda playbook.

G H W Bush pulled the White Hat firmly on his head to invade and destabilize Iraq. His son returned to finish the job of destruction.

If one-half of what Jeffrey Sachs wrote about Hillary Clinton is accurate, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/hillary-clinton-and-the-s_b_9231190.html
the USA started that horrendous war, using the same sort of propaganda that was used pre-WWII and the same puffed-up vision Messer holds, speaks, and acts upon.

Failure to properly understand our own history is a significant contributor to the psychosis that Mr. Brenner reveals so compellingly.

linda

I think "a fear of lost approval" explains a lot of political rhetoric today. The article is brilliant.

cynic

Some of the consequences of that 'exceptionality' may be starting to arrive. The Russians have just presented the U.N. with a list of American and British violations going back as far as 1946! Long term thinkers, and when it suits them, very legalistic, they are building on the resentment of the rest of the world at such treatment. How long will it take to go from sole Superpower to pariah state(twinned with North Korea)?
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/02/15/russia-submits-to-un-sc-express-review-of-gross-violations-of-un-charter-by-us-uk/

“Apparently, the presumption of their own exclusiveness have long made it possible for some countries to put themselves above the purposes and principles of the UN Charter,” the diplomat said referring to a well-known remark of US President Barack Obama about the “exclusiveness” of the American nation.

steve

Thank you for this excellent article.

Imho, the way out of this psychosis will arrive when the economic conditions of Americans--wage stagnation, increased inequality of opportunity, lowered health expectancies,the hollowing out of the middle class--have become so unbearable that the government will be forced to turn its efforts to amelioration of those conditions, and away from overseas intervention.

I think there will be a realization that this politically imposed psychosis doesn't mean squat for the overall economic, social, and cultural health of the average citizen. You see at least some of that playing out with Trump's attacks on 9-11 and the Iraq War, as well as Sanders' position against more foreign ventures. At some point, I think the powers that be will get slapped with a dose of realism.

Or maybe not. Perhaps that is one of the sub-text rationales for the security state.

Jackrabbit

It seems to me that considering public as mentally ill fails in many ways. It approaches 'blame the victim' in that the 'problem' appears to be with the public.

Over the last 20-30 years, a much stronger class division has arisen in America. 'Elites' aka 'the one percent' have gained much more power and control. This is most clearly evident in our money-driven electoral system and rampant inequality.

The neocon/neoliberal ideology that guides most of these 'elites', is the source of the 'sickness' in our society, not the cognitive dissonance of ordinary people.

When people see things as they are, they will be rightly angry with those that have manipulated and disenfranchised them.

This is not a matter of partisan politics. Principled people on both the left and the right are fighting against the destructiveness of the neolib/neocon 'Borg' machine-like, self-serving ideology.

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